Teens Volunteer – Opportunities in Service to Nonprofits

Volunteering offers some great rewards – even if you are doing it because you have to! It really doesn’t matter so much why you volunteer. I hope you are looking forward to it, but I think you will enjoy it even if you are a little apprehensive now. Some teens just like the idea of doing something for someone else. Maybe your parents volunteer or maybe someone helped you in the past and now you’d like to do something nice. Other teens have to volunteer because their school requires community service or because they got in trouble and “volunteering” is their punishment.

If you can choose where you volunteer, there are many options. Generally you will be helping a nonprofit organization 먹튀검증. You can check Wikipedia(which is a nonprofit organization itself) for the definition. Here’s my short version:

An organization that provides funding, services, programs or information to the general public, without making money doing it.

  • Environment – this could be the global Sierra Club or a local recycling group
  • Humanitarian aid – like the Red Cross helping out where there is a war or earthquake
  • Animal protection – there are national organizations and local shelters
  • Education – many private schools, summer programs, preschools, libraries and community schools are nonprofit (this is different than a public school, which is run by your local government)
  • The arts – big museums and theatres or your local gallery, playhouse or chorus
  • Social issues – organizations that work to change or improve conditions for people (racism, homelessness, prejudice) or to help people in difficult situations (provide food, shelter, counseling). Clubs like Girl Scouts also would be in this category
  • Charities – generally exist to give money to nonprofits, they might be trusts or foundations
  • Health care – many hospitals are nonprofit and there are many organizations that work to find cures for diseases like American Cancer Society
  • Politics – usually groups form to support a candidate or party, they can be national or local
  • Religion – all religions in the United States are considered nonprofit organizations
  • Sports – like a local league or club sport

I think you should have fun, be creative and learn when you are volunteering. As a teenager, you are probably beginning to have some ideas about what you want to do with your life (and lots of adults are probably nagging you about it). When you volunteer you get to explore something you haven’t tried before. That’s the cool part.
Of course, there is the chance that somebody wants you to do community service that is boring, dull or just not your thing. If that happens, you need to be prepared with some ideas of your own, so you get to choose! 

Think about your skills and interests. What do you like to do when you have a choice? What are you good at, what do people compliment you on? At this point in your life you – YES, YOU – have some talents that make you very special. This is your chance to use them.

Go back and read that again if you are still feeling like you don’t want to do community service!

What I am going to give you here is a list of ideas. They may not work for you, they may not be available in your neighborhood, or you may not like them. BUT there is enough here to get you thinking. Your volunteer job may be something that exists (like becoming a hospital volunteer) or something you create. If you are earning your Boy Scout Eagle or Girl Scout Gold award you will need to create your own.

  1. Love the arts? Look for a nonprofit performing arts center or theatre in your town. Find out what you can do for them, like working in the box office or being an usher. Make sure you get to see the performances for free!
  2. Want to help homeless families? Check with your church, temple or mosque. Many communities have a Family Promise or Interfaith Hospitality Network program. Families with children stay in congregations for a week at a time. You could play with the children, cook a meal or provide entertainment.
  3. Interested in gardening or farming? You may want to start by volunteering at a public garden or farm. From there you could start your own community gardening. Ask the town for a small plot to use and invite the community to participate.
  4. Are you a natural organizer? Consider organizing a drive. You could collect food (for a local pantry), coats, gloves or hats or blankets. You’ll have to find out where you can donate them and get a storage space at home, school or your congregation. You should be able to get free newspaper publicity. (Make it even more interesting, ask people to buy fleece throws and you decorate them…)
  5. Into music? Form a chorus or band and provide entertainment at nursing homes, shelters, orphanages or public spaces.
  6. Love animals? Volunteer to walk and feed the dogs at a local shelter or be trained to work at a zoo.
  7. Do you have experiences to share? You can write about them or speak about them to groups your own age. Many organizations that work with children would be interested in these. If you were adopted, you could speak about that. If you had a parent die or leave, share that. Organizations that work with teens may have a teen advisory board, check it out.

Getting Started
Check with friends, family, teachers and neighbors for ideas. Go online or to the phone book for contact information. Hate to make calls? (me too!) get a partner (or a parent) to make the initial call and find out who might be interested in your services. Then go see them. 

Merle Benny is a published author and has recently released The Winner’s Circle, a practical, easy-to-use program for nonprofit success and growth. It can be found at [http://www.Nonprofit-Champion.com/winnerscircle.html]

With over 25 years marketing and management experience, as well as being a lifelong volunteer, Merle now works exclusively with nonprofits to help them grow and succeed. Her creative solutions for nonprofit organizations have included events, websites, videos, branding, annual reports, brochures and development. She provides free ideas, tips and tools for nonprofit leaders a

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